Cherry Hill, NJ, stands out among communities that are “greening” themselves, and can be a model for others looking to do the same.
In 2006, Mayor Bernie Platt began looking at recycling as a way to save money for Cherry Hill. The cost of disposing of trash at landfills and incinerators was rising steeply, and township officials estimated that by using RecycleBank , a program that gives residents financial rewards, based on the amount they recycle, Cherry Hill could save $2 million in disposal fees over five years.
“A pilot program was launched in the Knollwood area in fall 2007, and while we had high hopes for the concept’s inception, I was astonished at the pilot’s success,” says Dan Keashen, a close Platt aide. “Recycling rates almost doubled in that area during the six-month test run, and soon other neighborhoods were clamoring to get involved.”
After RecycleBank went township-wide in 2008, the average Cherry Hill household went from recycling 11 pounds of material per week to about 22 pounds of material. Meanwhile, Cherry Hill’s solid waste output has been tremendously reduced. Keashen estimates the township has diverted more than 2,700 tons of trash from the landfill since 2007.
“These numbers are groundbreaking from a sustainability point of view and a fiscal point of view,” Keashen says. “Since we have been educating our public and pushing our community to think twice before they throw things out, we have been able to average approximately $40,000 a month in recycled commodity revenue.”
Keashen says he believes the community’s attitude has changed since they implemented the new recycling program. “Our goal was to stimulate thought and make people think about what they are putting in the trash,” Keashen says. “I think it’s clear that our residents are putting more thought into these critical pieces of everyday living.”
Finally, in a separate initiative true to the spirit of America Recycles Day, all desk-side trash cans in Cherry Hill’s Municipal Building have been replaced with recycling containers. According to Keashen, employees must make the effort to walk to a centralized trash collection point, making it less convenient to throw things away and more convenient to recycle.
Article from the U.S. Envrinmental Protection Agency
Cherry Hill kicks the (trash) can for recycling. CHERRY HILL — The trash cans are no longer near desks in the Municipal Building. By next year they could disappear from the desks at town schools.
Not only do RecycleBank households save money while helping the environment, but cities like Cherry Hill, NJ, have turned to conservation efforts as a way to relieve pressure on tightening city budgets.